A Life Sketch of George Y. Smith, Sr. Family by daughter, Annie Smith
Colaborador: Accesette Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
I was born of goodly parents in the year of our Lord, 1859, in Dundee Scotland. My father’s name was George Young Smith. My mother’s maiden name was Joan Luckie. I was the third child of a family of ll children, four of which were born, and one died in Scotland.
My father was a carpenter, and my mother was a dressmaker; she also conducted a small dry goods store. They were not wealthy but they had enough to make them comfortable.
My parents belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and like all other Saints in foreign countries they looked anxiously for the day when they could gather with the Saints in the land of Zion. So when circumstances would permit, they sold out their worldly possessions and started for the Rocky Mountains, the home of the Saints. Although their homeland relatives and friends were dear to them, the Gospel was still dearer.
On May 3, 1862, they set sail on the ship the William Tapscot to cross the mighty Atlantic ocean. The ship was a sailing vessel (there were no steam ships then) and six weeks were spent on the ocean, as they had to depend on the wind blowing the right way and had to drop anchor when it was not.
In due time they arrived in New York, and then they travelled by train from New York to Florence, Nebraska, where they were met by the wagon train, drawn by several yoke of oxen on each wagon, which was sent from Salt Lake to bring them across the plains. My parents had money enough to buy part of an outfit to bring them to the new frontier called Utah. One of the leaders of the company told them he would get them someone to buy in with, so they gave him their money but he did not keep his promise, nor did he refund the money. My parents then had to walk all the way across the plains. Father carried me on his back and mother carried a 3 month old baby, my sister Sarah, 7 years old walked. Our luggage was hauled so we were that much ahead of the Handcart Company. We arrived in Salt Lake City the latter part of October, and then visited with some friends till Robert A. Bain came to bring us to Smithfield.
I have no recollection of our long journey to Smithfield until we were nearly there. Brother Bain told us about Santa Claus (there was none in Scotland), and I thought what a good man he must be to come and fill the children's stockings. We could easily believe the story as everyone had a large chimney and fireplace built on the end of their house. I also remember that Brother Bain had a yolk of spotted oxen.
We arrived in Smithfield the 3rd of November, 1862, just six months after leaving Scotland. Smithfield was only a fort when we arrived, the people living on each side of Summit Creek as it was then called, and here I have spent my life.
Life was not very pleasant for us children as the other children called us "Scotchie," and one day I remember some boys filled mine and my sisters heads full of porcupine quills. Mother thought Zion was a pretty hard place to live in.
I think our first home was between our store (the E. R. Miles building) and the Sentinel Office. We rented it from a lady by the name of Lydia Hunt. It was only a one room structure with a dirt roof and oh how it leaked. There so many Indians here, seems to me there were more Indians than whites. We were very much afraid of them. I remember when the last battle was fought at Battle Creek, so many of the Indians were killed and wounded they would show you their wounds. I remember one little Indian boy about five years old, coming to our house with his mother and she showed us where he had been shot in the abdomen by the side of his navel. The soldiers were no respecters of persons, young or old.
We endured all the hardships of a new country having to sometimes go hungry. I remember having a dress made of the same piece of goods that father had a pair of pants made. I guess it was blue denim. (It was not overalls, people could not afford two pair those days). We were not so bad off for clothes as some families were, as mother brought a great many clothes with her from Scotland, which she made over for us children, and then my . grandmother would send clothes and dry goods by all the missionaries coming to Utah, so we had the name of being the best dressed family in town. Most everyone wore home made lincey or any other cloth which they could get.
After we had been in Smithfield a little less than a year mother was so homesick Buat she went to visit her friends in Salt Lake City and took us children with her. One of the ladies boys we were visiting with was going to the store a short distance from the home and took me with him. Somehow or other he got separated from me and went home without me. I tried to find him but couldn't, so I started to go home alone. It seems that I took the wrong direction and was soon lost; at which I began to cry.
A gentleman picking apples in his garden noticed me, and asked me what was the matter. I told him I was lost along with my mothers and fathers names, and told him the name of the people we were stopping with, whereupon he gave me a big red apple and then picked me up and carried me back to mother, who after thanking him took my apple and cut it in eight pieces, giving each of the ladies boys a piece and me the same. I never have forgotten my feelings at that time. Here I had been lost and had that apple given me, and then only get a thin slice of it was nearly more than I could stand. I was just three years and 9 months old at this time. When I was about 5, I fell in the creek and was nearly drowned.
My education was rather limited. I attended the district schools in the summers and later had one term in the BYC. While attending the BYC I lived at the home of Joseph Goddard and had to work for my board and room.
We did not have the free school system then that we have today, so each child's tuition had to be paid for by the parents and as the school had pupils in all grades from alphabet to 5th readers and only one teacher, I used to help with the junior classes and thus paid my own and the younger children's tuitions.
I also taught school one winter. I had 50 pupils from alphabet to 3rd reader. I had to make my own fires, sweep the floors, and keep the room in order for which I received S3 per week, which was $36 for the term. I received $10 in store pay (which was a $10 credit in the Coop store) and rest in wood, hay, and pigs.
I got the $10 but the rest went to the family. What would our lady teachers think of that today? I did not like school teaching and as a phrenologist had said I would make a good nurse so I went to stay for a week with a sick lady. At the end of the week I believe I was the sicker of the two. I told her I didn't think I wanted to stay longer, and think of my feelings when she said she would not have me if I would.
What might have been a fatal accident happened to me when I was 15 years of age. I was thrown from a running horse, caught my foot in the stirrup and was dragged quite a distance. I was picked up for dead but soon revived. Later the same year I joined the choir and was made a Sunday School teacher, and was a member of the Sunday School Dramatic Association with which we used to help finance the Sunday School.
I also made lace collars for which I found a ready market. The first 25 cents piece I ever saw, I received in part payment for one of them. I thought so much of it I put it away and kept it for a souvenir. I still had it after I was married and one day I gave the box it was in along with some other trinkets to my baby to play with. The baby upset the box and the money rolled under the bed. Next day some little girls were amusing the baby by rolling a can along the floor. The can accidently rolled under the bed and in crawling under after it one of the girls found the missing quarter. She never said a word to me about it but took it to the store and bought candy, then came home and offered me a price. The candy was good but alack alas, my souvenier was gone.
I remember when the first steam train came to Ogden and also when the first one came to Smithfield. I was then about 12 years old. Nearly everyone went to see it.
May Day used to be our Sunday Schools big day, where we would go to the canyon, erect a Maypole and crown the Queen of May. I once had the honor of being chosen queen.
I was the first girl in Cache Valley to work in a store.
I was married January 9, 1879 to Edwin Ruthvan Miles, Jr. We began married life in a one room log house with a dirt roof. (It still stands on the South side of Annie Roskelley’s house near the lower roller mills). This house stood on a lot where I now live, the corner of second north main. We did not have much besides love and ambition. My husband did odd jobs and I took in sewing to help make a living. Later he worked in the canyon and got out enough lumber to build a new house, on which he did most of the work himself.
After we had been married about three years, my father-in-law took a contract to build a piece of railroad. My husband and I both went, I to cook for the men and my husband to work on the road. After we had been up there about three weeks, we were moving camp in Portneuf canyon. As we were coming down a steep hill our wagon tipped over, and I again was nearly killed.
In the fall of 1879 typhoid fever broke out in my father’s family; from which my mother, two sisters, age 14 and 18 all passed away. Mother died on the 14th day of December, my first child was born 11 days later.
In the year 1892, my oldest daughter, Jane Ruth (age 10), died of diphtheria. The quarantine was so strict that no one was allowed to come to the house. Her funeral services were held in the cemetery. This was a terrible blow to me, as I was in the house alone and held her in my arms when she passed away.
August 1903, I buried my father. I also had an auto accident and was again nearly killed.
Although we started in very poor circumstances the Lord blessed us. My husband learned carpentry and later managed the Farmers Union Mills, after which he then went into business for himself.
In 1906 my husband was called to be Bishop of the newly created First Ward, and was instrumental in supervising the new chapel then in construction. He lived to see the building completed but no dedicated. He passed away on October 31, 1914. I was not home at the time. He died suddenly of cerebral hemorrhage.
Published in the Smithfield Sentinel, Friday, April 23, 1937.